DREAM THEATER drummer Mike Portnoy writes: "Roadrunner asked me for my Top 10 album list back in November (with comments) for their artist/employee year-end wrap up. For whatever reason, they never posted anybody's lists this year — so I figured I'd share it here so it doesn't go to waste."
Portnoy's comments on his favorite albums of 2008 follow below.
1. METALLICA - "Death Magnetic"
Portnoy: "Is this too obvious a pick? Perhaps.....but it's absolutely deserving. No other album has kicked my ass this year as much as this one has... This is the new METALLICA album I've been waiting almost 20 years for! That they made an album this strong and inspired 25 years after their debut is absolutely incredible and completely unprecedented (I challenge you to name three other bands that you can say that about... I can't!)"
2. PROTEST THE HERO - "Fortress"
Portnoy: "This album is totally insane... awesome playing, crazy arrangements, breakneck tempo and time changes. This is what MR. BUNGLE would've sounded like if they grew up on equal portions of DREAM THEATER and THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN!"
3. THE MARS VOLTA - "The Bedlam In Goliath"
Portnoy: "After being disappointed with their last one, this latest one is back on track with some very cool, more cohesive (by their standards) writing. And new drummer Thomas Pridgen is worth the price of admission alone for all you drummers out there."
4. BEARDFISH - "Sleeping In Traffic Part 2"
Portnoy: "These Swedish retro-proggers were on my 2007 top 10 list with their 'Traffic Part 1' and they have done it again with the equally as great 'Part 2'. If you dig early '70s prog stuff like ZAPPA, GENESIS and YES, you'll dig these guys… (If you're a closed-minded Blabbermouth-posting idiot, don't bother.....not that you would've anyways!)"
5. SLIPKNOT - "All Hope Is Gone"
Portnoy: "For any doubters, look beyond the masks... these guys have made an absolutely amazing metal album with some great playing and a bit of Corey Taylor's more melodic side making its way into the sound without losing any of their edge and power."
6. OPETH - "Watershed"
Portnoy: "My Progressive Nation tourmates never disappoint...I think every album they've released in this millennium had made my year-end list! They're one of my all-time favorite metal bands... 'Nuff said!"
7. BLOODBATH - "Unblessing The Purity" / "The Fathomless Mastery"
Portnoy: "For the OPETH fans that dont like their melodic and progressive side (shame on you!) there are these two absolutely brutal side project releases with Mikael Åkerfeldt's trademark death growls and Martin Axenrot's intense double-bass drumming and blast beats that are tighter than a nun's vag..."
8. TRIVIUM - "Shogun"
Portnoy: "My favorite release so far from these guys who have really fallen into their own. It's refreshing to see a young band who obviously take their playing and writing as serious as they do and keep the shredding alive in metal.
(And yes, this is the third Roadrunner release in my top 10... and it is not due to any kind of shameless self-plugging or ass-kissing...they just happen to have the best metal roster around and are the best label on Earth... which is why we made them DT's home!)"
9. STEVEN WILSON - "Insurgentes"
Portnoy: "The newset addition to my ipod in the past few weeks is this latest masterpiece from PORCUPINE TREE's leader and sonic genius. Some serious ear candy here."
10. CYNIC - "Traced In Air"
Portnoy: "The pioneers of progressive death fusion are back with a sophmore release that took 15 years to come to fruition!"